Why de Blasio’s the Candidate for Working Families

NYHTC — June 27, 2019

By Peter Ward

This editorial appeared in the New York Daily News on Jun 26, 2019

Throughout most of the last century, if you had a job at a manufacturing plant, it was hard work, but it also meant stability and opportunity. Whether you worked with steel, textiles, rubber or any of the industries that fueled America's economy, it meant you could have a house, a car and the ability to put food on the table for your family.

While many of those jobs no longer exist, their legacy of unionized work creating a pathway to the middle class lives on in the hotel industry. Hotel workers are the modern-day manufacturing plant worker.

Their earned success is something we want to see all workers achieve. Those economic opportunities don't come without leaders fighting side-by-side with us. Of the field of Democratic presidential contenders, there is one who has stood in the trenches with us that our union is proud to endorse: Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio has been that kind of a true friend to our union. This week we're going to hear from a lot of Democrats telling us what they would do as president. But only one, de Blasio, has already delivered for millions of working families.

Many of our working mothers have young children who only now and only because of de Blasio have the chance to send their kids to universal pre-kindergarten. New York City is now home to the biggest pre-K program in the nation, with over 70,000 children enrolled. That's a 370% jump since the year before he became mayor. Imagine that same program on the federal level and all the children whose lives would forever be changed by getting the early educational foundation they need to thrive.

Like many big cities, New York finds itself with a dire shortage of affordable housing. When de Blasio took on our housing crisis, he didn't just think outside the box, he tore it open with new ideas and the most ambitious affordable housing goal in the country — 200,000 units to be built and preserved over 10 years — that will help New Yorkers stay in their neighborhoods and raise their families.

While many elected officials talk about supporting workers' rights, de Blasio has taken action. He was one of the first to push for a $15 minimum wage for all workers, and he has supported economic development policies that help keep hotels — our factories — open and providing well-paying jobs for working families.

And when de Blasio championed the expansion of mandatory paid sick leave to ensure that 3.5 million workers wouldn't have to choose between losing their job and taking time off for illness, religious observances, bereavement or to be with a sick family member, he helped raise the bar on a new national standard even higher.

I know de Blasio is up for the job of president because I’ve seen him run the biggest city in the country. If you’re a two-shower-a-day worker like we are, there’s no question: Bill de Blasio is the leader you want fighting by your side.